Stephen Zunes : Democratic Party Foreign Policy
On March 3, Berta Cáceres, a brave and outspoken indigenous Honduran environmental activist and winner of the Goldman Environmental Prize , was gunned down in her hometown of La Esperanza. Erika Guevara-Rosas , Americas director for Amnesty International, noted how “For years, she had been the victim of a sustained campaign of harassment and threats to stop her from defending the rights of indigenous communities.”
Despite Hillary Clinton’s reputation as a liberal, the record suggests her presidency would push America toward a more militaristic approach to the region.
Feminists who oppose Hillary Clinton’s imperialism can’t just challenge her foreign policy. We have to challenge the sexist attacks against her, too.
Clinton supporters want Democratic voters to forgive their candidate’s support for the most disastrous foreign policy decision in decades. They shouldn’t.
Supporters of international law have expressed consternation that the leading candidate for the Democratic nomination for president — like most of her potential Republican rivals — strongly supported the illegal U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq. Hillary Clinton’s support for the Bush administration’s request for war authorization effectively placed her in opposition to the United Nations Charter and the Nuremberg Principles forbidding such wars of aggression. Ironically, these important international legal standards were in large part designed by officials from administrations of the very political party she hopes to represent in the contest for the White House.
Supporters of the international legal framework – which has, with mixed success, governed international affairs since the end of World War II – have long expressed concerns over the prospect of former senator and secretary of state Hillary Clinton becoming president. Her support for the US invasion of Iraq (a flagrant violation of the UN Charter), as well as her hostility toward the International Criminal Court, her support for international recognition of Morocco’s illegal annexation of occupied Western Sahara, and her attacks against the United Nations and a number of its key agencies raise concerns that her election would bring a return to the Bush administration’s neoconservative rejection of longstanding international legal principles.
President Obama’s announcement that he would send up to 50 U.S. Special Forces to “train, advise and assist” armed militia fighting forces of the so-called “Islamic State” in Syria marks an escalation in U.S. military involvement in that country.
In April, the student senate at Earlham College, a Quaker liberal arts institution in Indiana, approved a resolution by consensus recommending the college endowment divest from three U.S. companies (Motorola, Hewlett Packard and Caterpillar) which are directly supporting the Israeli occupation in violation of international law. The resolution (thus far ignored by the college’s board of trustees) follows decisions by a number of Quaker-affiliated organizations — as well as the Presbyterian Church USA, the United Church of Christ, and other nonprofit groups — to divest from these companies…
For more than a half-century, a series of United Nations resolutions and rulings by the International Court of Justice have underscored the rights of inhabitants of countries under colonial rule or foreign military occupation. Among these is the right to “freely dispose of their natural wealth and resources,” which “must be based on the principles of equality and of the right of peoples and nations to self-determination.”
Reaching an interim nuclear deal with Iran would have been difficult enough even without hardliners in both Iran and the United States seeking to undermine them.